How I Deal With The Unexpected On Your Wedding Day
On days like this week, have you stopped and wondered what would happen if it was your wedding day and things got thrown into chaos?
I think about these things a lot actually.
It may not necessarily be the weather that doesn’t quite go to plan, it could be any number of things.
One of the last things I’d want you to worry about is your photographer showing up. I want you to have full confidence that your photography will run as smoothly as possible no matter what.
I believe in planning ahead.
I always plan for the worst and hope for the best. This doesn’t make me invincible to all situations, but it certainly means I’m prepared as best as I possibly can be.
Did you know that I have been trained as cabin crew and I’m also a scuba diving instructor? That’s right, I can help evacuate a plane in pitch black smoke and I have lead group scuba diving trips abroad in unfamiliar waters and difficult conditions. Both experiences have taught me the value of being prepared for all situations and planning everything ahead. It also means I can keep my calm when things don't go to plan, because I will deal with it as professionally as possible.
I talk about these things at all my consultations but it’s worth reminding and reassuring you here.
1. I live and shoot locally.
Most of my weddings take place in London and I do actually live here in Zone 2 and I know the city pretty damn well. I travel by public transport so I avoid hassles of finding parking spots or getting stuck in traffic. I always have several route options and I actually plan to get to weddings earlier than agreed to allow for transport delays. In the worst case I can walk or ride my bike (although the latter has not been necessary so far!).
2. Local Knowledge.
Because I know London well and tread the streets every day, I know a lot about what’s going on. Sometimes small things can impact your wedding photography. It’s also a reason I will recce a wedding location the week beforehand, even if I know the area. Firstly, the weather & light is more likely to be similar to what I can expect on your wedding day. But things like building works and scaffolding can suddenly appear that affect requested photographs or your routemaster/taxi routes. They may not have been there when you booked the venue a year earlier. This allows me to make an alternate plan or suggestion for you. Even if surprised by something on the day, I can choose other options because I know the area and always think ahead.
3. I always plan to arrive early.
If I am shooting a wedding outside of London, I will arrive the day before and stay at a local B&B. I do drive in these situations as venues tend to be in rural areas and it gives me more flexibility. The further afield it is, the earlier I get there. When I shoot abroad, I make sure my flight arrives no later than two days ahead of the wedding to be sure I am not affected by cancelled flights. The benefit of arriving this early is that I also have time to recce your venues and to be well rested so I can have full energy on your day.
4. In case of emergency.
In the unlikely event that I am unable to shoot a wedding because of an emergency (and I do mean emergency, I will still come if I just have a cold!) I belong to several networks of wedding photographers, including an emergency cover group to find back up photographers at short notice. These groups include photographers from all around the UK and most of us have contacts abroad as well.
5. Spare Equipment.
I always have a back up camera and plenty of spare batteries and memory cards. I also have multiple back up systems on different hard drives to minimize risk of loss or damage. Your USB is your own copy to keep safe. I also keep my equipment in good condition, service them and if necessary will hire additional equipment if I feel it will be wise to do so.
6. Scenario Specific Events.
One reason it is important for me to know as much detail as possible about your wedding is because I can consider the impact that certain things might have on your wedding day and adapt to it accordingly. My experience allows me to anticipate certain things that you couldn’t be expected to know and I want to make sure I can deal with things so you can just enjoy the day. The weather is an obvious example, but it could be any number of things. Wedding schedules do sometimes get a little delayed and I’d rather adapt to the situation than be the cause for further delays. That means I can change the timings of portraits, for example, if it means the catering gets served on time.
7. We plan ahead together.
I like to plan all the key things ahead with you. From your schedule and group photos, what to do if it rains, what to do if your family complains about something and so on, I like to make sure that you are happy with the plan. That way I can prioritise what’s most important to you.
Every wedding day is special no matter what happens.
The unexpected may happen, but it can still be the most enjoyable day if you embrace it.
Hopefully now you also feel reassured that I will be doing my best to deal with it too, so that you don’t need to worry!
Important Note: If you have already booked another photographer for your wedding, please speak to them about how they handle the unexpected. Do not assume that all photographers have the same approach. And if there is anything I haven’t covered that you’d like to know about, please let me know, I always appreciate the feedback.
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